Louisiana USSSA Inducts 6 Into Hall Of Fame
The Louisiana chapter of the United States Specialty Sports Association welcomed eight new members to its hall of fame on November 9 during a ceremony held at the Hotel Acadiana. Legends of Louisiana softball, including many previous inductees to the hall, were in attendance to witness the enshrining of the Class of 2014.
The inductees were players Rocky Hebert (Breaux Bridge) and Melissa Frederick (Scott), manager Leo McClure (Hoschton, Ga.), umpires Amos Mosely and Percy Mosely (Houma), director Richard “Dickie” Davis (Amite), and Ray and Mary Claire Polito (Baton Rouge) in the special category. In addition, the Bud Light Softball Team from Thibodeaux was inducted into Louisiana USSSA’s Hall of Honor.
Hebert began playing ball at the age of four. When he learned how to ride a bike, Hebert began making regular 10-mile round trips to a camp in Parks to Rodney Verret’s every day to practice. That practice paid off, as Hebert finished his career with a batting average of .650 and numerous championships, including a world championship he won with the Athletic Shop and three Knights of Columbus national championships he won with Mire Council 7411. In addition to these squads, Hebert also played for—among others—the Big Boys, Mississippi Grand Slam, and the Bridge.
Frederick is arguably the greatest female player in the history of Louisiana USSSA. The sixth female inductee into the hall, Frederick is known as the “Vacuum Cleaner” for her extraordinary fielding at third base; she is still one of the few women to play that position regularly in competitive mixed competition. Frederick began her career in slow-pitch after playing Little League Baseball and winning all-district MVP honors in fast-pitch at Acadiana High School. During her 30-year career, Frederick played in 3,840 games and finished with a batting average of .683. She won numerous regional and state championships, claiming several all-tournament and MVP awards along the way.
McClure is the most-decorated coach to be inducted into the Louisiana USSSA Hall of Fame. A former high school and college basketball coach and player, McClure began hosting USSSA baseball and softball events in 1993, including a 12AAA World Series at Alex Box Stadium. His greatest accomplishments came after he formed the Louisiana Tigers program in 2000. McClure started with only one team, but the program eventually grew to five teams in the 11-, 12-, 13-, and 14-year-old divisions. The nationally-recognized program has won two national championships and has finished as national runner-up twice more. More than 150 of McClure’s players went on to play college baseball, while 35 went on to play professionally.
Davis began his USSSA career in 1981 as an umpire. During his 12 years wearing the red uniform, Davis called a number of divisional, regional, and national tournaments. Davis also officiated the 1982 USSSA Church World Series and was invited to umpire the 1993 Men’s Major World Series. Davis’s work as an official were recognized in 1992 when he was named the Louisiana Umpire of the Year. After retiring from umpiring, Davis was named the area director the Hammond/Slidell region. Because of his leadership abilities and connection with the softball teams in the area, the area grew almost overnight, becoming one of Louisiana USSSA biggest and most-successful districts.
Brothers Amos and Percy Mosely began their umpiring careers in 1976 as fill-in officials, taking the field when a regularly-scheduled umpire failed to show up at their park. They learned the ropes of umpiring through a trial by fire. However, their distinctive flair and knowledge of the rules made them highly regarded by players and tournament directors alike. The twin brothers have called state, regional, national, and world tournaments all across the United States, including the Black American World Series in Ft. Worth, Texas, and the Whole Enchilada in Las Cruces, NM. Amos and Percy are among the few to officiate and play in a world tournament, claiming a ninth-place finish with Nero Lounge at a world tournament in Wooster, Ohio.
Ray Polito was born into the world of softball. He grew up watching his father and his siblings play softball. When he was old enough, Polito began his playing career with Louis Mechanical. Polito has played in all 41 years of the St. Louis Softball Program’s existence and continues to play in both the program’s men’s and mixed leagues. When Mary Claire married Ray, she quickly jumped into the behind-the-scenes work of the St. Louis program by running the concession stand. In the 36 years they have been married, Mary Claire and Ray have continuously worked to build the program into one of the finest in the state. Their children also take part in the program as players and volunteer workers, becoming the third generation of Politos to participate in the St. Louis program.
Hall-of-Honor inductee Bud Light Softball was formed in 1982. The Thibodeaux-based team claimed the Men’s Class D state title in both 1983 and 1984, going 17-0 in state play during that stretch. In 1985, the squad moved up to Class C, winning the regional championship that season. Bud Light moved up again, this time to Class B. There, they captured another regional championship in 1998. During the team’s 20-year existence, more than 50 athletes played for the squad.
Louisiana USSSA also recognized the six people elected to the hall’s Class of 2014. They are players Todd Thomas (Lafayette) and Roy Poche (St. Martinville), manager Mackey Hopkins (Brandon, Ms.), umpire Don Halpin (Lafayette), director David “Sarge” Stratton (Longville), special category inductee Becca Vaughn (Metairie). They will be honored at the 2014 Louisiana USSSA Hall-of-Fame Banquet next fall.